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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    131

    How essential is Disk Speed / IOPS

    As I'm going to be building a game server, I want the best bang for buck performance available to me. SATA disks, not SAS.

    What would benefit a game server more, faster disks, or better IOPS. Assuming the smaller disks have better (IOPS) but slower spindles, whereas the larger disks have better spindles, but lower IOPS

    4 x 15k disks (RAID 10) array - 3.5" disks (probably 36gb ones)
    OR
    4 x 7.2k disks (RAID 10) array - 2.5" disks (smallest ones)

    I'd assume IOPS would be more beneficial (so lots of smaller disks in large raid) due to constant read / writes on the game server and databases?

  2. #2
    I think for a games server IOPS is quite important to keep the servers moving on map changes, etc. Obviously without factoring in cost, the 15k disks will give you much better IOPS than standard 7.2k sata disks, however if money is a factor then the tradeoff between losing some IO and the money saved may make it not worthwhile. What games and how many slots are you looking to run, what will the rest of the server be like? This will affect the choice IMHO.

    For example if your plumping for a standard single quad core maybe 1156 with 8gb ram, the 7.2k may well be sufficient, however if you are building a large dual quad 5520 with 24gb ram definitely the 7.2k would be a bottleneck for the rest of the system and I would certainly recommend the 15k drives instead. Have you excluded SSD drives for a reason? Seems like they would be good for a server solely for gaming?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    131
    Quote Originally Posted by PingVPS View Post
    I think for a games server IOPS is quite important to keep the servers moving on map changes, etc. Obviously without factoring in cost, the 15k disks will give you much better IOPS than standard 7.2k sata disks, however if money is a factor then the tradeoff between losing some IO and the money saved may make it not worthwhile. What games and how many slots are you looking to run, what will the rest of the server be like? This will affect the choice IMHO.

    For example if your plumping for a standard single quad core maybe 1156 with 8gb ram, the 7.2k may well be sufficient, however if you are building a large dual quad 5520 with 24gb ram definitely the 7.2k would be a bottleneck for the rest of the system and I would certainly recommend the 15k drives instead. Have you excluded SSD drives for a reason? Seems like they would be good for a server solely for gaming?
    Hi Ping,

    SSD Drives
    I have excluded these mainly because I'm trying to build the server on a budget, this "project" so to speak is purely for leisure. SSD drives aren't cheap with current prices compared to SATA disks.

    I could build a server around 1-4 SSD disks, but not sure of price / performance. I'm more interested in web-hosting, this is purely for leisure

    Server Specs
    The server will essentially be the same spec as a webserver I'm building. Mainly because if I decide to scrap it I'd have a spare server. I prefer the server based technologies (like ECC) for the level of resilience I can have. I don't want to travel to the datacentre every 2 days


    These are the specs, it would be running

    - 12GB Triple Channel DDR3 RAM (ECC-R) - 1333mhz (Patriot ECC-R)
    - Tyan or Asus M/B
    - 1 x L5520 (Quad 2.26 low volt xeon) - LGA1366
    - RAID 10 Drive array
    > If 3.5" 36-72gb disks, can only fit 4 in 1U Rack (I prefer 2.5" for low power)
    > If 2.5", say 40gb disks, can fit up to 10 in 1U Rack


    With 2.5" I can get SATA disks, that are small in size that are 7.2K RPM and run a large 10 disks array for high IOPS

    Games / Slots
    The plan is to install pretty much available game, example...
    - L4D 1/2
    - Killing Floor
    - AVP
    - COD
    - Counter Strike, etc, etc, etc

    Then starting up the ones we want to play at the time. So only maybe ever 1-4 game servers running.

    Slots, not sure, I'm expecting maybe 16-32 max. I think the server can handle up to 200 depending on low power games, but games like CSS maybe only 16 max on the server at 100tick, 1000fps

    The datacentre limits me to 500gb of bandwidth, whilst not ideal it's good enough to run a private game server I think. Power is 0.5A allocation but it's cheap enough to upgrade to more if needed. Server will be connected by a 100MBs port.
    Last edited by AndyJH; 04-09-2010 at 08:16 AM.

  4. #4
    So to clarify you are comparing 4x 15k drives to 10x 7.k drives not 4x 7.2k? I guess performance of such a sized array may be on par or even quicker than 4 drives in theory. I assume you will be using a decent quality hardware raid adaptor? A 10 port card would be a significant cost I believe? Possibly negating the costs saved comparing 4 15k drives to 10 small standard sata's? I don't see the benefit of running an array like this, I would personally plump for the 4x 15k drives. I guess these are older drives as well? Are the drives some sort of raid edition with TLER? That many standard drives might be asking for drop outs in your array which would be a big pain.

    Also that many games will push your hdd space, 4x 72gb in raid10 will leave you ~135gb after format+OS, some games can start off at 2gb+ installed, add extra addons/mods/etc and you would be pushed to fit many more games than the ones you plan, after that you will likely be juggling for space to fit new ones on. Maybe laying out the money for 146gb drives would be a worthwhile investment in the long run?

    I agree SSD looks to be out of your price range for your project. Overall if I were you I would go for 146gb 15k drives, should handle your game load adequately and give you some space for adding future games without needing to remove old ones.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    131
    Quote Originally Posted by PingVPS View Post
    So to clarify you are comparing 4x 15k drives to 10x 7.k drives not 4x 7.2k? I guess performance of such a sized array may be on par or even quicker than 4 drives in theory. I assume you will be using a decent quality hardware raid adaptor? A 10 port card would be a significant cost I believe? Possibly negating the costs saved comparing 4 15k drives to 10 small standard sata's? I don't see the benefit of running an array like this, I would personally plump for the 4x 15k drives. I guess these are older drives as well? Are the drives some sort of raid edition with TLER? That many standard drives might be asking for drop outs in your array which would be a big pain.

    Also that many games will push your hdd space, 4x 72gb in raid10 will leave you ~135gb after format+OS, some games can start off at 2gb+ installed, add extra addons/mods/etc and you would be pushed to fit many more games than the ones you plan, after that you will likely be juggling for space to fit new ones on. Maybe laying out the money for 146gb drives would be a worthwhile investment in the long run?

    I agree SSD looks to be out of your price range for your project. Overall if I were you I would go for 146gb 15k drives, should handle your game load adequately and give you some space for adding future games without needing to remove old ones.
    Hi Ping,

    It's more of a thinking stage at the moment. I really have no clue over game servers if it's IOPS or Disk speed.

    The reason I mentioned 10 x 2.5" is because the density of the disks would allow me to fit that many. I always assumed RAID10 arrays have better performance the more disks you add... I haven't got real word experience of RAID arrays so don't know without further research

    I have no objections to using 4 x 300GB 15k drives if it solves the issues. RAID controller would probably be something like an LSI Raid card or an Areco (can't remember it's exact name)

    3.5" drives would save a fair whack on money too, because they're around £70-100 second hand now in SAS style

    Andrew


    EDIT - I re-read your post and think 4 x 15k will be my best bet, considering the servers will never be under massive utilisation 15k in a RAID 10 setup would provide ~500gb space to play with with best "bang for buck" performance.

    Thanks for helping
    Last edited by AndyJH; 04-09-2010 at 10:49 AM.

  6. #6
    I think thats your best option although some others may have other better insights than me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2,218
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyJH View Post
    I have no objections to using 4 x 300GB 15k drives if it solves the issues. RAID controller would probably be something like an LSI Raid card or an Areco (can't remember it's exact name)

    3.5" drives would save a fair whack on money too, because they're around £70-100 second hand now in SAS style

    Andrew


    EDIT - I re-read your post and think 4 x 15k will be my best bet, considering the servers will never be under massive utilisation 15k in a RAID 10 setup would provide ~500gb space to play with with best "bang for buck" performance.

    Thanks for helping
    The peak I/O rate for low-speed disks is about 50 I/Os per second per disk.

    For high-speed disks it's a bit more than double that, maybe 125 I/Os per second.

    For an SSD it's very high - thousands of I/Os per second.

    You were considering 4 32GB drives in RAID 10, which would give you 64GB of data space.

    You may be better off with a pair of 500GB 7.2K RPM drives (£40 each new) in software RAID 1 for the OS and logs, and a single 80GB SSD (£190 for Intel X25M new) for rapid-access data.

    Total £270, for 80GB of high-speed data and 500GB of low-speed. You wouldn't need the RAID card as long as the motherboard supported 3 or 4 SATA connections.

  8. #8
    7200 RPM drives are plenty good enough for machines running game servers.
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  9. #9
    Disk speed is important indeed since it is mostly the bottle nexts.
    For example, using ssd drives for the main os in server for VPS service would be better. But for game servers 7200 RPM drives should be enough.
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  10. #10
    I'm going to have to back up Biloh on this one. For straight game servers, you shouldn't need more than a good-quality 7200 RPM drive. Game servers mostly use the disk for map loads and logging, neither of which are very intensive. Get plenty of RAM to cache and buffer these operations (and support the game servers as well), and you'll do just fine.
    John
    President, NFOservers (Nuclearfallout Enterprises, Inc.)
    High-performance (Xen) VPS hosting, game servers, Ventrilo/Murmur/Mumble/TS3 servers, and dedicated servers

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    131
    Wow thanks,

    Bit of an old post

    What kind of drives are good, do many GSP's use Enterprise class drives as I remember seeing a post where someone stated it's irrelevant about SATA being used for GServers....

    What drives could I use, I've heard things about Spinpoint F2 ?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    you can use Spinoint F2,its a good drive,and have some good ios along with it,the better the hard drive,the better performance you will get,and fater the response would be

  13. #13
    I would recommend the Spinpoint F3 over the Spinpoint F2; it's quite a bit faster. My testing puts the F3 at the front of the performance pack for 7200 RPM drives right now.
    John
    President, NFOservers (Nuclearfallout Enterprises, Inc.)
    High-performance (Xen) VPS hosting, game servers, Ventrilo/Murmur/Mumble/TS3 servers, and dedicated servers

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    131
    What's the power usage like, how many drives would be OK for the gameserver. The server specs themselves could handle a lot of servers, I suspect the bottleneck will be more network and disk so I'll only host install maybe 50 games per server

    4 Spinpoint F3's in RAID10 ?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Michigan
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    Disk speed and network capacity aren't going to major issues in a typical GSP setup as you'll never saturate the sustainable rate of even a 7200rpm SATA disk and you won't saturate a 100Mbit connection. You'll run out of RAM and CPU before you ever dream of pushing the disk and network hard. That said, I'd focus on your amount of RAM and both # of cores and the speed of those cores.
    Joseph Laws
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    (http://www.hd-gaming.com)
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